Hero and antagonist of the show, Dr. Hannibal Lecter is a psychiatrist of some renown, practising in Baltimore, Maryland. He is an ardent lover of music and fine arts, and a member of Baltimore society. As an accomplished chef, he often prepares lavish dinners for himself and his guests. He is a murderer and a cannibal, and often serves human meat disguised as veal or pork.
His pseudonyms include: the Chesapeake Ripper, the Copycat, il Mostro di Firenze.
Not much is known about his life before the show. Presumably, he was born and grew up in Lecter Castle in Aukstaitija, Lithuania. He cared for his sister Misha before she was killed, presumably by Chiyoh's prisoner, and fed to him. He was send to his aunt Murasaki, and later to a boarding school in France. Presumably, he came to the US for his medical scholarship at Johns Hopkins, becoming a surgeon. He cites the death of a patient as his reason to switch from medical to psychiatric practice.
It is unclear how much of his background from the books and movies should be presumed true.
On behalf of Jack Crawford, Hannibal consults on the case of the Minnesota Shrike, aka Garrett Jacob Hobbs. It is unclear if he is there to work on the case, or to keep an eye on Will Graham. He kills Cassie Boyle to help Will see Hobbs' profile more clearly, becoming the Copycat killer. Before Will and Hannibal apprehend Hobbs, Hannibal warns him, resulting in Will having to kill Hobbs, and Will and Hannibal narrowly saving his daughter Abigail. When Will is assigned therapy with him because of the incident, Hannibal uses their sessions to foster co-dependency and aggravate Will's mental distress. He also convinces Dr. Sutcliffe to keep Will's encephalitis from him; later, he kills Sutcliffe as the Copycat to ensure his silence. When Abigail kills Nicolas Boyle in self-defense, he helps her hide the body and acts as a mentor/father figure for her. When Will gets too close to discovering his identity as the Chesapeake Ripper/the Copycat, he uses Will's mental distress to discredit him, and later frame him for the copycat murders by putting an ear of Abigail Hobbs into his stomach.
In Will's absence, Hannibal works more closely with the FBI, occasionally using the information he obtains to find and kill other killers before the FBI gets to them. He speaks for Will at his trial, and kills the judge when he rules out a critical line of defense. Due to Will's manipulation, Beverly Katz finds his basement, and Hannibal kills her and displays her as the Chesapeake Ripper. In retaliation, Will gets Matthew Brown to kidnap and try to kill him. Thanks to Abel Gideon, Alana Bloom, and Jack Crawford, Hannibal survives. He in turn kidnaps Gideon from the BSHCI, and leaves evidence behind that exonerates Will.
When Jack Crawford grows more and more suspicious of Hannibal, he starts an affair with Alana and uses her as an alibi. With the help of Miriam Lass, he frames Frederick Chilton as the Chesapeake Ripper. When Will resumes his therapy, he acts as a mentor to Will's "fledgling killer", forcing him to kill a former patient of his who thinks he is an animal, and rewarding him for bringing him a piece of meat presumably from Freddie Lounds. In the meantime, he manipulates his patient Margot Verger to sleep with Will, and when she is pregnant, tells her sadistic brother Mason, who forcefully takes the child from her. When Mason kidnaps Hannibal because of Will's manipulation, Will sets Hannibal free again, and together they drug Mason, get him to feed his own face to Will's dogs, and break his neck.
Before they could disappear together, Hannibal realizes that Will has been in league with Jack all this time. When the time comes, he fights with Jack for his life, and stabs Will in the stomach for his betrayal. He also kills Abigail (presumed dead until then) in front of him, before leaving his life in Baltimore behind and stating fresh with Bedelia Du Maurier in Paris.
- "Next time, bring your wife. I'd love to have you both for dinner." -
- "Don't give me ideas. Your tongue is very feisty." -
- "The feast is life. You put the life in your belly and you live." -
- "I didn't poison you, Tobias. I wouldn't do that to the food." -Fromage
- "I have no interest in understanding sheep, only eating them." -
- "Morality does not exist. Only morale." -Aperitivo
- Dr. Lecter's office is located at 687 Bayshore Avenue - Suite 200, Baltimore, MD, 21161. His office phone number is 443-555-0159.
- Hannibal has a high tolerance for pain; even when Cordell brands him in Digestivo with a hot iron, he does not make a sound.
- Hannibal's suits are made by Garrison Bespoke.